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From the Curse of Ham to the Curse of Nature

October 12, 2007

By Kenny, Robert

Abstract. This paper examines the debate engendered in ethnological and anthropological circles by Darwin’s Origin of Species and its effects. The debate was more about the nature of human diversity than about transmutation. By 1859 many polygenists thought monogenism had been clearly shown to be an antiquated and essentially religious concept. Yet the doctrine of natural selection gave rise to a ‘new monogenism’. Proponents of polygenism such as James Hunt claimed natural selection had finally excluded monogenism, but Thomas Huxley, the most prominent exponent of the new monogenism, claimed it amalgamated the ‘best’ of both polygenism and monogenism. What it did provide was an explanation for the irreversible inequality of races, while it maintained that all humans were of one species. This bolstered belief in the innate superiority of the Caucasians over other peoples. The effect was finally to sever British ethnology from its evangelical monogenist roots. More subtly and surprisingly, it provided support in Church circles for a move away from the ideal of the ‘Native Church’.

It is well known that Darwin’s Origin of Species avoided applying the mechanism of natural selection to the development of the human species. Darwin waited twelve years before publishing his Descent of Man in 1871. Others were not so reticent. Natural selection provoked debate in British ethnological and anthropological circles through the 1860s, debates enacted in the shadow of the American war over slavery and British colonial expansion. Just as much as they were prompted by the transmutation theory, the debates had their antecedents in competing views of human diversity: did the variety of human races represent a single species descended from a common ancestor, or did the variety indicate separate species of humans descended from uncommon ancestors? Before 1859 the monogenist camp was seen, particularly by its opponents, as having based its arguments on religious conviction as much as on science, while many polygenists also saw their position as at least as much in harmony with Christian Scripture. But, to the surprise of many polygenists, after 1859 many of the most famous Darwinians, who had little truck with religion as a source of scientific knowledge, proclaimed themselves monogenists.

In the standard historiography, particularly in the writings of George Stocking, these debates are characterized as involving a conflict between a ‘Darwinian’ camp, ensconced in the Ethnological Society of London, and the ‘Anti-Darwinians’ of the Anthropological Society of London.1 Such histories, aiming to elucidate the progress of the ‘Darwinian revolution’ within anthropology, have underplayed the fundamental shift that occurred in the predominant attitude of the Ethnological Society under the influence of the Darwinians. This shift turned a monogenism of practical equality of races into a monogenism that accepted an irrevocable inequality of races and was politically little different from the polygenism advocated by the leaders of the Anthropological Society. Such histories have also overplayed polygenists’ antagonism to Darwin’s theory – for many polygenists transmutation was a means to understand the plurality of races as a plurality of species. The aim here is to examine the mechanics of the shift in monogenism and to show that natural selection, at least as then perceived by many, challenged and fatally undermined both polygenism and orthodox monogenism at their foundations. In so doing it established a new ‘scientific’ argument for human inequality that was to have far-reaching and surprising effects.

‘Of one blood’: the founding of the Ethnological Society of London

Boosted by the Abolition Act of 1833, leaders of the anti- slavery movement committed themselves to the issue they saw as deeply connected to slavery: the fate of aboriginal peoples in British colonies. In 1834 Thomas Fowell Buxton, the evangelical Anglican who succeeded William Wilberforce as the leading anti- slavery MP, moved in the House of Commons to establish the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Aboriginal Tribes (British Settlements):

to consider what Measures ought to be adopted with regard to the NATIVE INHABITANTS of Countries where BRITISH SETTLEMENTS are made, and to the neighbouring Tribes, in order to secure to them the due observance of Justice and the protection of their Rights; to promote the Spread of Civilization among them, and to lead them to peaceful and voluntary reception of the Christian Religion.2

As this committee continued to take evidence in 1836, Thomas Hodgkin, Richard King and Buxton together founded the Aborigines’ Protection Society, with its motto Ab uno sanguine, ‘of one blood’.

The Quaker physician and reformer Hodgkin epitomized the alliance of religious philanthropy and science reflected in the new society. King had been Hodgkin’s student and had given evidence to Buxton’s committee on the Hudson’s Bay Company’s treatment of Amerindians.3 The APS at first embodied the twin ambitions of men such as Hodgkin and King: religious philanthropy married to a science whose findings would add support to the cause. Referring in 1839 to the activities of the Societe ethnologique de Paris and of the Ethnological Committee of the British Association, the ABS noted that ‘the study of the physical history of man is … closely connected with attempts to preserve and protect those branches of the human family whose continued existence is in danger’.4 Hodgkin was behind most of this. The Paris society had been instigated at his suggestion,5 and from 1839 he headed the British Association committee.6

Yet the APS, with its philanthropic and political priorities, was limited as a scientificsociety.7 In 1843 Hodgkin, Richard King and others associated with the Aborigines’ Protection Society formed the Ethnological Society of London. They remained committed to the monogenism that characterized the APS and were confident science would support such a stance. At the meeting held at Hodgkin’s London home to inaugurate the ESL, Hodgkin read a paper especially written by Ernst Dieffenbach, an honorary member of the APS then advising the New Zealand Company.8 Dieffenbach outlined ethnology’s purpose unequivocally: to ‘confirm by inductive science the cherished unity of mankind ‘.9 The scientific inspiration behind the ESL was the towering figure of early nineteenth-century British ethnology, James Cowles Prichard, also a founding member of the APS and a founder of the ESL. The BAAS’s Ethnological Committee had been established as a result of Prichard’s 1839 address to the association, itself the result of Hodgkin’s encouragement in order to publicize the APS. As well as Prichard and Hodgkin, the committee included the young Charles Darwin.10 Prichard had been born into a Quaker family but converted to become an evangelical Anglican.11 His Researches into the Physical History of Man was originally published in 1813. He subscribed to a view essentially Mosaic. Prichard initially went to great lengths to show how, using even the most basic forms of navigation, humanity had dispersed throughout the world within the biblical time scale.12 In later editions he suggested that the Mosaic account truncated the number of generations, but that its essential description of descent from one pair of parents stood.13 For Prichard as for Dieffenbach, ethnological enquiry could only confirm human unity. He ended an 1848 address to the ESL by insisting that ‘the farther we explore the various paths of inquiry which lie open to our researches, the greater reason do we find for believing that no insurmountable line of separation exists between the now diversified races of men’.14 Hodgkin was an adherent of Prichard’s views. Like Prichard, his understanding was grounded first in a reading of Scripture. For Hodgkin, as for Prichard, the doctrine of ‘one blood’, thus the unity of humanity, stated an essential equality between races.15

Protestant exegesis read Genesis as a theology of degradation : through its own deeds humanity suffered under a series of curses. The most pertinent were the Curse of Ham and that resulting from the Tower of Babel. Many early philologists sought to traceback to the original language spoken by all humanity before the boastful act of Babel caused God to confuse the languages and scatter people across the earth.16 But it was the Hamitic curse which best explained the diversity of peoples. After the Flood Noah planted a vineyard and, drunk from the wine, lay naked in his tent. His son Ham saw him naked and told his brothers. When Noah awoke he placed a curse on Ham’s descendants, to be ‘servants of servants’. From the three sons of Noah the whole earth was peopled. The descendants of Ham, according to Genesis, spread out to inhabit Egypt and Canaan and also parts of Asia Minor.17 The London Religious Tract Society’s Short Comments on Every Chapter of the Holy Bible ( 1 838) explained that the whole of Africa ‘ was peopled mostly by the descendants of Ham ‘. In the Cobbin Family Bible, published in 1844, a map showed the dispersal of the descendants of the sons of Noah. Those of Shem occupied most of Arabia and Persia, parts of Asia Minor and, interestingly, the southern regions of India and Sri Lanka. The descendants of Japheth occupied most of the Eurasian landmass including the British Isles. Coloured brown on this map were all the regions of Africa it showed, parts of Arabia, much of southern Asia and, with a question mark to denote uncertainty, that northern area of Scandinavia inhabited by the Lapps (Sami). For while the Lapps might be in Europe they were here perceived as nomadic hunters, cursed to be without agriculture like all the descendants of Ham.18 The makers of this map could well have created a chart in which most of the Americas and the whole of Australia would also have been shaded brown and inhabited by the descendants of Ham. This extrapolation clearly drew on more authorities than those provided by the account in Genesis alone.19 Medieval writers identified Ham with Cain, who according to Genesis 4:11-16 was driven from the farmland to become what has been called ‘the ancestor of nomadic tribesmen’.20 In this degenerationist account, hunter-gathers were not ‘primitive’ but the offspring of those who had had agriculture and civilization taken from them and through their lack of knowledge of God had fallen into a degraded condition. The founder of modern racial classification, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, introduced the designation ‘Caucasian’, convinced that the peoples of the Caucasus represented the most perfect and pure example of the European type. What was important for Blumenbach was that the Caucasus was close to Mount Ararat, where the Ark landed and Noah and his sons disembarked to repopulate the world.21 The Caucasian was the perfect, specifically the primal, human from which other races had degenerated.

Yet for the evangelicals all the curses of the Old Testament had been lifted by the saving act of Jesus’ death and suffering; at the heart of evangelicalism lay soteriology. The prominent Methodist Richard Watson was certain in 1824 that the Curse of Ham had been lifted by the act of salvation and that the only curse under which the African continent then suffered was the curse of European exploitation.22 Since most differences and diversity were the product of curses lifted by the act of salvation, individual conversion, the individual agreement to accept the salvation offered by Jesus, would uniteali peoples. Thus developed the connection between ‘protection’, civilization and proselytizing.

To be sure, ethnologists and religious philanthropists such as Prichard and Hodgkin saw the Europeans and particularly the British as representing humanity at its then highest achievement. Yet they did not see this achievement as the result of some inherent quality. The British had also once been savage and had learnt from ‘more refined nations’.23 This view of Britain’s past was well illustrated in William Holman Hunt’s 1850 painting A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Priest from the Persecution of the Druids, now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The Britons are shown as Amerindians complete with arrow quivers and moccasins. Behind the hut in which they shelter one missionary (of noticeably Mediterranean complexion – the Britons are fair), naked heathen Britons chase another less fortunate missionary through a landscape of Stonehenge-like monoliths. Just outside the hut’s door is a cultivated patch of vegetables and grain. The history is clear: the missionaries brought Christ, clothes and agriculture to the pagan hunter-gatherer Britons. So is the premise: any inequality now evident between peoples was a product of milieu. Thus education and civilization, particularly Christian education, were all that was needed to manifest equality. This was a constant theme of the Aborigines’ Protection Society publications. Education and Christian civilization would save indigenous populations from the twin scourges of colonization and slavery. This was not necessarily a belief in ‘ Europeanization ‘. Hodgkin believed that such education could only be achieved by the fostering of ‘Native teachers’. To rely on Europeans as the continual teachers would make education simply another arm of colonization.24 This had its parallel in the views of Henry Venn of the Church Missionary Society, who argued for the ‘ Native Church ‘. Missionaries were at work to make themselves redundant (Venn called this ‘euthanasia’). They were to plant the seed of Christianity among native peoples, then retreat. A Native Church would then grow using the native language, eventually to become a National Church displaying national characteristics.25 It was of course the way the Anglican Church saw its own development into a National Church grown from the seed planted by outside missionaries.

Emblematic of this belief in native agency was the career of Samuel Adjai Crowther. The adolescent Crowther had been freed from a Portuguese slaver off the coast of West Africa in the 1830s by a British Navy anti-slave cruiser.26 He studied at mission school in Sierra Leone, distinguished himself as a pupil, converted to Christianity, studied in a seminary in England and was ordained. A gifted philologist, he developed grammars of the Yoruba and other African languages and translated much of the New Testament. He also published various other journals and memoirs. He became a missionary to West Africa and was eventually made Bishop of West Africa in 1864. But, as we shall see, his career was to wane in the late 1860s.

Polygenisms

Despite his monogenism, Hodgkin was a long-time friend of the most vocal polygenists of the time, Robert Knox and the American Samuel Morton. They were all Edinburgh students together.27 Notoriously implicated in the Edinburgh scandals of Burke and Hare, Knox enthusiastically argued that the mulatto offspring of a European-native coupling were non-productive in the same way as a mule. He held that even in Ireland there had been ‘no amalgamation of the Celtic and Saxon blood’.28 This was not a novel position, as the term implies – ‘mulatto’ is from the Spanish for young mule.29 It was commonly held by settlers in Australia that Aboriginal women who had once borne a child to a European were thenceforward unable to conceive with an Aboriginal man. This supposed fact was used by Samuel Morton to support his polygenist doctrines in America, where polygenism had a greater following because it could so easily be used to support slavery.30 It had enough currency that Darwin felt the need to mention its disproof as late as 1871 in his Descent of Man.31

Morton was famous for collecting and measuring skulls to demonstrate the moral and intellectual differences between races. His work was well known on both sides of the Atlantic.32 As Stephen Jay Gould demonstrated in his Mismcasure of Man, Morton fudged the measurements to ‘prove’ the Caucasian brain was bigger.33 This proof became a commonplace – in the decades that followed many writers used the term ‘ larger-brained European’. Friendship notwithstanding, Hodgkin was unimpressed by this science of skulls. In 1849 he wrote, ‘Having myself paid some attention to the ethnological grouping of skulls, I must confess that I have found considerable difficulty in adopting points of characteristic difference; and in this difficulty I find an argument in favour of the unity of species. ’34 He found greater variety of cranial capacity, Morton’s measure of cognitive ability, between individuals within a local group than between distant groups.

Morton did not rely on size alone. He gave as much emphasis to the phrenological regions in skull shapes to find races’ different propensities. His Crania Americana ; or, A Comparative View of the Skulls of the Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America (1839) contained his essay on the varieties of human species that detailed the story the skulls told.35 It also carried an appendix by George Combe: ‘Phrenological remarks on the relation between the natural Talents and Dispositions of Nations, and the Development of their Brains’. In his Preface, Morton claimed he was a novice in phrenology, but Combe’s appendix, written during an American tour, responded directly to Morton’s views and his collection of skulls. Combe’s remarks give a clear account of the phrenological aim of the book. Environment and milieu did not matter since the differences between races were constant.36 While some races might be well developed in some faculties, such as the Amerindian’s alleged capacity for ‘independence’, only few had it all:

Independence, civilisation, and political freedom, are the results of large aggregate size of the brain, the moral and intellectual regions predominating in the majority of the people, aided by cultivation. This combination characterises the British, Anglo-Americans, and Swiss.37

Robert Knox did not see religion as a source of knowledge.38 Bur other polygenists did. Morton believed in the biblical time scale and used it as evidence that racial types were primordial. How could such differences occur in a mere six thousand years through environmental factors? And how then could one explain the Tasmanian, who lived in a cool temperate climate but was as black as a tropical African?39 Others read the confusing accounts of the creation of humanity in the opening chapters of Genesis to suggest that Adam and Eve were one pair in a world already peopled by other races. Louis Agassiz was one of the most prominent of these. He had started out as a monogenist but his migration to America had changed his views. He was particularly impressed by Morton’s collection of skulls.40 In 1850 he wrote,

That Adam and Eve were neither the only nor the first human beings created is intimated in the statement of Moses himself, where Cain is represented to us as wandering among foreign nations after he was cursed, and taking a wife from the people of Nod, where he built a city, certainly with more assistance than that of his two brothers.41 Thus the view of common descent was apparently wrong. Others used the same confused opening passages of Genesis for similar purposes. Despite their claims that all were descended from Adam and Eve, Scriptural monogenists relied far more on the unambiguous story that all peoples of the world had descended from Noah than on the story of Eden.

Claims by Knox and many others that true fecundity was impossible between races were born of their hopes more than of empirical experience. The readily apparent evidence of true interracial fecundity was a major challenge to polygenism. Those with more immediate experience of settler-indigene contact, such as missionaries, knew Europeans and aborigines could easily produce fertile offspring. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Knox saw responses to these religious positions as unnecessary. Many polygenists, accepting the intermingling of blood, saw it not as disproof of separate species but as prompting another question: what exactly constituted a species?42 In 1847 Morton abandoned his reliance on claims of infertile offspring and argued that fertile offspring were common in cross-species breeding.43 This would demand a complete reassessment of what constituted species, and it fuelled rather than settled controversy.44 But it made evident the core of the problem: how could unity not mean equality? For the polygenists and for a growing number of others, the notion of equality between races was untenable.

The development of man

There was a third possibility, which could often blend with Scriptural monogenism and the various polygenisms. Especially after its popular editions of 1835, George Combe’s Constitution of Man was read as promoting the developmentalist view of the world and man. This was despite Combe’s own belief in progress but not in developmentalism.45 The Constitution of Man was popular and controversial but it was followed by an even more sensational work that did more than any other to popularize the idea of progressive development and thus pave the way for evolution. Published anonymously during its author’s lifetime, Robert Chambers’s Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation first appeared in 1844, with a new edition at an average of one a year for the following decade.46 Vestiges proposed a detailed narrative of progress, a cosmology that incorporated much of the current scientific knowledge of the time from a range of disciplines. Its narrative began with the planets and stars, and explained geological stratifications, organic life and the pinnacle of development, the human – that is, the European human. Ignored were the chronology and explanations of the Bible. But Vestiges was not atheistic, nor even anti-Christian. It was an alternative view of how God created the world.

The Laws of Nature, unchanging through time, were the motor of development. They were also products of divine will, forces set in motion at the moment of Creation. This did not impress tough materialists like Robert Knox. He wrote of Vestiges that ‘all is mystery, a iusus naturae, a visitation of Providence … A material Jove still thunders.’47 Until recently Vestiges was seen as a popular curiosity that preceded the great work of Darwin, who seemingly began the ‘revolution’ which overturned religious dogmatism. But James Secord has demonstrated that Vestiges instigated the great controversy over developmentalism and that Darwin’s Origin must be seen to have quelled much of the controversy by providing a more scientifically authoritative version of development.48

Vestiges incorporated a basically Prichardian concept of the unity of the human species, yet hedged its bets on whether the diversity of humanity represented degeneration or development. Both were factors: the relics of collapsed civilizations were testimony to degeneration, but it was also apparently clear that the Negro and the Mongoloid exhibited features now remaining only in a Caucasian child.49 This was to become a very attractive concept. Yet, as with most developmentalism before 1859, the problem faced by Vestiges was the lack of a convincing explanation of the mechanism of transmutation. However much appearances might seem to indicate development, experience also showed the lack of true fecundity between species. More importantly, why did things develop? For Chambers and others the motor was divine will, but this was not something that would convince sceptics like Thomas Huxley.

Anthropologists versus ethnologists

Although the Ethnological Society of London has been described as the ‘scientific wing’ of the Aborigines’ Protection Society,50 it soon attracted scientific workers with views contrary to the monogenism of the APS. For King and Hodgkin the purpose of splitting the scientific arm of the APS from its parent was to open the study of ethnology to those who might not share the APS priorities. They expected such openness would lead to the scientifically inevitable proof of human unity. But by the end of the 1850s this was looking like a capitulation to the champions of disunity. These had become increasingly prominent in the society, much to Hodgkin’s dismay.51 Between 1861 and 1863 the society’s Transactions were dominated by the writings of polygenists, including John Crawfurd, Richard Burton, James Hunt and Hodgkin’s old friend Robert Knox, who had been expelled from the ESL but was now readmitted.52 Indeed it is easy to concur with the view of many polygenists of the time that monogenism was losing the fight. The staunchest of the polygenists, James Hunt, was secretary of the society at the time Origin of Species appeared.

Much influenced by Robert Knox, Hunt was certain of one thing: the fallacy of human unity. In 1862 he split from the Ethnological Society to form the Anthropological Society of London. Hunt and others ostensibly left the Ethnological Society because it opened its doors to women, but the ideological rift was broader, and the real contention was over illustrations of Africans. Hunt wanted to use derogatory caricatures of Africans to which Hodgkin and others objected.53 That the majority of the ESL supported Hodgkin does not indicate support for monogenism. Despite growing polygenist tendencies the membership of the ESL still held to the anti-slavery ethos of its APS parent, an ethos clearly not shared by James Hunt and those close to him.

Hunt outlined his view of the difference between ethnology and anthropology in his address to the inaugural meeting of his new Anthropological Society in February 1863.54 Ethnology was the study of the ‘arts of man’ – akin to what we might now understand as cultural anthropology – while it was anthropology’s ‘business to investigate the laws regulating the distribution of mankind’,55 including the attempt to understand physical and mental differences. Huxley was to publish ‘Methods and results of ethnology’ the year before he became president of the Ethnology Society, and to describe ethnology as a branch of anthropology. However, in what may have been a response to Hunt, Huxley saw physical anthropology as intrinsic to ethnology.56

In his address, Hunt was careful not to dismiss either the Mosaic or the developmentalist view of human diversity, but he was sure that the diversity was more than superficial:

Whatever may be the conclusion to which our scientific inquiries may lead us, we should always remember, that by whatever means the Negro, for instance, acquired his present physical, mental, and moral character, whether he has risen from an ape or descended from a perfect man, we still know that the Races of Europe have now much in their mental and moral nature which the races of Africa have not got.57

Hunt carefully pointed out that recognition of Negro inferiority was not to be taken as support of slavery, but this was not a qualification he normally conceded. His Anthropological Review would often carry articles in support of slavery.58 Thomas Huxley was certainly convinced that Hunt’s aim was to support slavery.59 In another publication of the Anthropological Society of London one writer suggested that ‘the Negro needs to be a slave’.60 Such views were not uncommon. George Combe had earlier stated that Africans’ docility made them perfect candidates for slavery as opposed to the American Indian: ‘the native American is free, because he is too dangerous and too worthless to be valuable as a slave … in both [the American and Africani, the brain is inferior in size, particularly in the moral and intellectual regions, to that of the Anglo-Saxon race’. Slavery was still a pertinent issue thirty years after the Abolition Act. Across the Atlantic fights raged in earnest. But the true differences between the ESL and the new ASL in its first year or so were small. The ESL Transactions and the new Anthropological Review shared many contributors. Most articles could have appeared in either organ. While there is some truth to George Stocking’s argument that the ESL, despite its growing polygenist disposition, remained true to its anti-slavery APS roots,61 its Transactions could nevertheless contain Robert Dunn’s ‘Some observations on the psychological differences which exist among the typical races of man’, which closed by quoting the passage from Combe just cited.62

Darwin’s dare

Some saw the challenge in Origin’s closing suggestion that ‘Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history’. The most influential of these readers was Thomas Huxley. In 1859 the zoologist Huxley had just dismissed the belief that a great line separated Man and Nature. Darwin’s publication was timely.63 Huxley applied natural selection to the question of the origin of man from 1860 in a series of public lectures that in 1863 formed the basis of the essays collected in Man’s Place in Nature. He argued for a developmental connection between the living ‘man-like’ apes, present humanity and fossil remains such as the Neanderthal. Much of Huxley’s argument seemed craniological, based on a comparison of skulls of the apes, fossils and the various races. Yet whereas Morton had used these differences to argue for the plurality of human species, Huxley argued continuation through change. Man had developed from the apes as all new species developed, by transmutation. Man was part of the animal kingdom. One prominent polygenist in the ESL, John Crawfurd, dismissed Huxley’s work: a ‘great gap’ existed between the human and the ape, who was less intelligent than the dog. Any physical similarity between the ape and the human was coincidental, not evidence of a relationship. Crawfurd reviewed Lyell’s Antiquity of Man in the same article, suggesting Lyell had adopted ‘the theory of the unity of the human race’ because it best accorded ‘with the hypothesis of transmutation of species’. But many polygenists thought otherwise, including Karl Vogt. Hunt published an edition of Vogt’s Lectures on Man in 1864. Vogt was a dedicated polygenist who expressed a ‘violent opposition’ to all previous theories of development and found Darwin’s theory far more convincing. Vogt pointed out, however, that it could ‘not be inferred from Darwin’ that there was one single human species.64 Indeed, Hunt found it ‘remarkable’ that ‘some Darwinites are Monogenists, and, what is still more remarkable, that some Darwinites in this country are even now teaching as a scientific induction, that there is, at the present day, but one species of man inhabiting the globe’.65 Darwin’s theory, or rather the new evolutionary theory as such, was confusing the argument.

Huxley was scarcely the first to argue that man had descended from apes. Such a view had been suggested in Vestiges, for instance. Robert Dunn, an ethnologist who would be a vice-president of the ESL under Lubbock’s presidency, gave a paper to the ESL on the eve of the publication of Origin adamantly proclaiming the unity of man and rejecting the suggestion of Vestiges of descent from the ape as ludicrous.66 Dunn’s paper was orthodox monogenism. Three years later he presented another, entitled ‘Some observations on the psychological differences which exist among the typical races of man’. While still proclaiming the unity of man, Dunn drew on Morton, Agassiz and Combe to argue for a structural, thus permanent, difference between human races: ‘Now the fact is indisputable … the large-brained European differs from, and far surpasses the small brained savage in the complexity of his manifestations, both intellectual and moral.’67 Dunn did not mention Darwin or Huxley and presumably continued in his opposition to simian descent. Yet he quoted approvingly the other great evolutionist of the moment, Herbert Spencer:

the human brain in its development passes through the characters in which it appears in the Negro, Malay, American, and Mongolian nations, and finally becomes Caucasian, partaking of these alterations. And … the leading characters, in short, of vatious races of mankind are simply representatives of particular stages in the development of the highest or Caucasian type.

Dunn’s ‘one blood’ allowed for development within the human species but did not admit any development from the ape or the transmutation of species. He was not prepared to cross the ‘great gap’. Dunn’s monogenism was a long way from that of Thomas Hodgkin.

Although not a major player, as a committed monogenist Dunn’s case shows how confused allegiances were becoming. He had no qualms about relying on the most famously polygenist writers of his time, nor, as an anti-developmentalist, did he hesitate over turning to Spencer. James Hunt saw the confusion in Dunn and seized on it to show the illogicality of the monogenist position. In the year of Dunn’s paper, Hunt read a paper to his new Anthropological Society of London, ‘On the Negro’s Place in Nature’. The title was clearly a dig at Huxley. However, Huxley’s book was not the paper’s subject, rather the inherent incapacity of the ‘Negro’, considered here as a separate species of human. Hunt reminded his audience that Dunn had claimed an intellectual unity between the races of man, but Dunn had then confessed that the negro was incapable of being educated beyond the age of fourteen. The monogenists clearly wanted it both ways.68

The implications of Darwinism were seized on early by the polygenists, in some cases to support the disunity of species, but in others to demonstrate that the theory showed the illogicality of the monogenist camp.69 Hunt wrote ‘On the application of the principle of natural selection to anthropology’ in 1866 and understood such application to unequivocally support polygenism.70 Only by disregarding ‘mental capability’ – as had Huxley – could it be concluded that all the races of humanity constituted one species.71 Hunt even claimed that James Prichard, who had gone to such lengths in his attempt to accommodate to the Mosaic account his findings on the distribution of the races, was a covert polygenist, advocating a nominally monogenist argument while demonstrating in his descriptive analysis a practical polygenism.72 For Hunt, to argue for future unity of all races was a fallacy, since ‘all the classes of men’ tended to perpetuate their characteristics (that is, their peculiarities) and so ‘a coming unity rests on about the same evidence as a past unity’ – none at all.73 But Hunt did not dismiss Darwin. Indeed, he stated clearly that he accepted the ‘great principle of natural development to explain man’s origin’.74 Rather, it was some of Darwin’s ‘disciples’ with whom he disagreed, particularly Huxley, although Hunt was adamant in defending Huxley’s ‘honesty and moral courage’ against those who attacked his motives.75 What Hunt disagreed with was the argument that natural selection meant unity of species. Hunt was arguing from Darwin’s silence but so too, as far as he was concerned, were the ‘Darwinites’. He closed his paper by urging Darwin to come forward with his views. In another publication associated with the ASL, J. McGrigor Allan published ‘On the ape-origin of mankind’.76 Allan began by complaining that ‘the unity of the human species is still with multitudes of educated persons a matter of faith, and therefore not a subject of scientific inquiry’ (original emphasis), but Darwin’s theory had disproved unity. The question was whether Adam was a high or a low human. Allan decided that Adam was a high human evolved from the first humans who were low savages: ‘Is it easier to believe that the Caucasian race has degenerated into the Chinese, the Malay, the American, the Negro … or that the Negro has advanced through these and various intermediate stages up to the Caucasian type?’77 Allan’s argument had an exegetic equivalent. By exploiting the confusion in the opening passages of Genesis, which gave two explanations of the creation of man and woman, George Harris was able to demonstrate in the Anthropological Review in 1867 that the ‘lower orders’ of humanity were created before Adam, thereby reconciling the conflicting claims of science and the Bible. Adam and Eve were ‘a particular pair who were the parents of a particular race’.78 It was probable that God spoke English but certain that Adam and Eve were Caucasian.

The orthodox Darwinian line was monogenist. But, as Hunt recognized, this was a ‘new form of Monogenism’,79 one which revived what had become, according to many polygenists, the ‘perfectly antiquated’ theory of the unity of man.80 If Dunn had confusedly wanted it both ways, the new monogenists cannily wanted it both ways. Huxley saw natural selection as reconciling and combining ‘all that is good in the Monogenetic and Polygcnetic schools’.81 The ‘good’ in polygenism was the recognition of the irreversible differences and inequality of races. Natural selection reconciled these differences by refuting the immutability of species. If Hunt, at the Anthropological Society, and Huxley, soon to be president of the Ethnological Society, were in combat over some of the finer scientific points, and disagreed over slavery, they concurred to a very large extent in their view of non-Caucasian races. After the Northern victory in the American Civil War in 1865, Huxley published a short essay, ‘Emancipation – black and white’. According to Huxley, the abolition of slavery freed the master more than the slave: the ‘Caucasian conscience’ would no more be troubled with the fate of the ‘Negro’, for that would be Nature’s doing. Huxley wrote that

it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative- has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with bis bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.82

One notes the physical comparison and that the characterization is hardly less derogatory than that of Hunt.

Before this moment, it had been typical to imagine that a given species possessed certain essential features and that any variation within the species was minor, limited and adjustable. A species was exclusive, unable to mate with another species. Most importantly, a species was immutable and had come into being in all its essentials at the moment of Creation. In this sense, if all humanity were one species then all peoples were essentially equal. With the immutability of species refuted, the races of humanity could be seen as either different species descended from a common ancestor and therefore of the same genus and capable of some reproductive activity (‘mulatto’), or else as variations within the same species with differing and irreversible attainments and capabilities (which was Darwin’s preference). When Darwin finally broke his silence in The Descent of Man, he took a line close to that of Huxley and Wallace. Careful to argue against any suggestion that the races of humanity represented different species, he claimed that by a process of what might be understood as cultural selection some races had progressed more than others and hence ‘the races’ mental characteristics are … very distinct; chiefly as it would appear in their emotional, but partly in their intellectual, faculties’.83 Darwin saw this process as an interaction of nature and culture: ‘the intellectual and moral faculties of man’, he wrote in a chapter entitled ‘On the development of the intellectual and moral faculties during primeval and civilised times’, ‘are variable; and we have every reason to believe that the variations tend to be inherited’.84 He then sketched the somewhat Lamarckian mechanism by which a people- gained superiority by invention: The habitual practice of each new art must likewise in some slight degree strengthen the intellect. If the new invention were an important one, the tribe would increase in number, spread, and supplant other tribes. In a tribe thus rendered more numerous there would be a rather greater chance of the birth of other superior and inventive members. If such men left children to inherit their mental superiority, the chance of the birth of still more ingenious members would be somewhat better …85

Darwin saw moral development as following the same principle. All this explained the intellectual and moral superiority of the European peoples, particularly the Anglo-Saxon. Describing the success of the Anglo-Saxon, Darwin noted that ‘a nation which produced during a lengthened period the greatest number of highly intellectual, energetic, brave, patriotic and benevolent men, would prevail over less favoured nations’.86

If selection, natural or cultural, could induce such hereditary changes over a long period, the variations could be great. It was no longer enough to argue the unity of humanity by assigning all races to one species and then to argue, as had the evangelicals, that all difference was moral and spiritual. Natural selection as a general principle of natural development provided a monogenist base for what was a practical polygenism, for the great differences between the races were essentially irreversible (except, possibly, by interbreeding). Part of James Hunt’s argument, and this was essentially Huxley’s and Darwin’s position too, was that the mental and moral capability of a people were physical in nature through generations of (cultural and sexual) selection. Huxley used Morton’s ‘proof’: Africans could never compete with their ‘bigger-brained and smaller-jawed’ rivals, Europeans. Alfred Russel Wallace put the new position succinctly in a response to Hunt:

it matters not, therefore, whether man be a species of many varieties, or a genus with many species, in either case he has, on Mr Darwin’s principles, descended from one species, and if that one species was sub-divided into varieties, then by going a little further hack we arrive at their common ancestor in a single homogeneous species.87

The argument around which the question of human unity had revolved since the late eighteenth century no longer mattered. The diversity of people represented stages in development. The Caucasian was still at the pinnacle, but now as the outcome of development and not as primal type. Peoples could be ranked in terms of capability and attainment, from Caucasian down to the Wild Man of Borneo, the orang-utan. But if difference were the product of thousands of years of selection it was indelible. This was the real shift: insurmountable lines now clearly separated the races of man. Preach, teach and convert all one liked, it was held, the pure Hottentot would not become equal to the Englishman. To people like Hunt and Richard Burton, preaching to the African or the Australian was useless romanticism – those native minds, they urged, could never grasp the subtleties of the Christian theology. Even if Hunt and Burton believed Christianity a fallacy they still believed it too subtle for the native mind.88

The moral authority of struggle

The status of Origin of Species was due to its ability to convince a scientific establishment that had remained sceptical of Vestiges. As Secord has shown, part of the reason was the status of Darwin himself, a much-respected man of science, not easily dismissed.89 As a review in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal noted in the midst of its ‘scepticism’ over Darwin’s theory, the Origin was ‘not to be trifled with. The author is well known as a man of science’. Yet the reviewer also pointed to the other greatly persuasive element of the Origin: ‘the struggle for life’.90 It was the concept of struggle that appealed to those, whether polygenist or new monogenist, who sought a means to explain the apparently innate superiority of the Caucasian. The author of Vestiges had been mystified that so many suffered in the wake of progress:

The system of nature assures us that benevolence is a leading principle in the Divine mind. But that system is at the same time deficient in a means of making this benevolence of invariable operation. To reconcile this to the recognised character of the Deity, it is necessary to suppose that the present system is but a part of the whole, a stage in a Great Progress, and that the Redress is in reserve.91

But unlike the numinous will to progress of Vestiges, the struggle for existence, as the motor of nature, brought a moral order to European superiority.

Amande de Quatrefages, a committed believer in unity, saw this appeal: ‘At the hands of this illustrious naturalist, the hypothesis of gradual transmutation has assumed a force and appearance of truth which it never possessed before.” This had been achieved ‘by taking as the starting point the struggle for existence’.92 It was true that even this was not entirely new, but no one before had ‘formed such a complete and systematic theory … of which it is impossible not to admire’. The conviction lay in the detail:

By pointing out the fact that each species tends to increase in number in geometrical progression … the English naturalist makes it easy to comprehend the intensity of the struggles, direct or indirect, which are undergone by animals and plants against one another and the surrounding world. 93

Quatrefages had no quarrel with any of this. Consider his summary of its moral import:

Among the immense majority the victory can only be due to certain advantages, which are not enjoyed by those who succumb. The result of this struggle for existence is, then, the destruction of all the inferior individuals, and the preservation of those individuals only which possess some kind of superiority. This is what Darwin calls Natural Selection.94

But while for Quatrefages this convincingly explained the varieties and races within a species, Darwin had provided no convincing evidence of transmutation of species and had indeed avoided any clear definition of what he meant by ‘species’.95 Like Quatrefages, many saw the ‘struggle for existence’ as an explanation of variety within a species, the real meaning of natural selection, rather than as a convincing explanation of the origin of species as such. They could either deny transmutation of species as a possibility or, as did Quatrefages, suspend judgement.

Even for those who remained polygenists, such as Vogt, it was Darwin’s concept of struggle which had been convincing.96 Before The Descent of Man and the clarification by Darwin of his own position, many polygenists were puzzled that his theory was used to support the unity of man. Surely transmutation explained the differences between the human races and species. Given that ‘Darwinians’ such as Huxley and Wallace argued that natural selection amalgamated the two positions or at least blurred them, this was not an unreasonable or opportunist response. The new monogenism and polygenism agreed in essence on the innate inequality of human races and, in contrast to the monogenism of the original founders of the ESL such as Hodgkin, they looked very much alike.

The implications

By 1865 Hodgkin had become disenchanted. He withdrew from the activities of the ESL.97 In the same year he had wanted to contribute a paper on the ethnological implications of freeing the slaves of the southern states to the BAAS meeting in Birmingham, but it was refused on the grounds that this was not a subject of science.98 When the uprising of former slaves in Jamaica sparked critical political debate over the moral and political abilities of the ‘Negro’, he expressed dismay: ‘the whole affair may damp the feeling for the negro race elsewhere & augment the virulence of its many enemies’.99 He remained active in the APS, but in 1866 died unexpectedly on a trip to Palestine.

APS publications had generally been silent on the developments in science, but in May 1867 the APS Annual Report attacked the ‘monstrous theory’ in which a ‘pseudo-scientific standard … has been set up by philosophers who think they have discovered a new revelation of the law of nature and of the destiny of our dark- skinned brethren ‘.100 In November of the same year the APS journal’s lead editorial, ‘The British Association and the Negro’, began, ‘The discussions on the character and capacity of the negro, which occupied so large a portion of the earlier proceedings of the Anthropological Society, have apparently been transferred to the platform of the British Association.’ The main charge was levelled at Hunt, but ‘ethnologists’ (and not anthropologists) in general were also targets. Purely scientific controversies over race did not concern the APS; it was only when ‘the theories of ethnologists are made the excuse for cruelty or oppression that they are likely to prove injurious’, for ‘we see pseudo-philosophers, who talk learned jargon about “the negro’s true place in nature”‘ -chief of these of course was Hunt.

Dr John Davy had given a paper at the Birmingham BAAS that year. In terms reminiscent of Holman Hunt’s painting of the ancient Britons, Davy argued that in the interior mountainous regions where Africans had not been subject to slavery or to European exploitation, where the climate and soil were good, ‘the negroes were at least as advanced as the ancient Britons in the time of Julius Caesar’. All they needed was the touch of civilization and of Christianity, the touch that had started the ancient Britons on their road to ascendancy. Hunt replied. As the editorial said, ‘as the gentleman is President of the Anthropological Society, our readers will have no difficulty in imagining the drift of his argument’. Hunt stated that emancipated blacks in the southern states ‘would not work’ and had no political understanding. A former commander in the Confederate Army contradicted Hunt. Two supporters of Hunt then argued ‘that there was no instance of a pure-blooded negro having attained a position of influence and distinction’.101 In The Negro’s Place in Nature Hunt had claimed that every example of an intelligent pure-bred Negro offered by the ‘philanthropists’ had been revealed as fraudulent – invariably the ‘Negro’ had had a Fluropean parent.102 But here the APS editors produced their trump card: We will give them one. Dr Crowther, the Bishop of Niger, is a negro, black as coal, and of the purest type … Brought to England he was educated here; and instead of his capacity for intellectual improvement being arrested, as the ethnologists say it always is in the case of negro children at the age of fourteen, his experience proved exactly the contrary of this audacious assumption.

In 1865 the canny Huxley had conceded that an occasional African might reach the attainments of a European, but this did not mean that on ‘average’ the ‘Negro’ was the intellectual and moral equal of the European.103 So to counter any such accusation that one example does not make a rule, the editorial concluded that

Bishop Crowther is a black man; and there are thousands of his race who, like himself, furnish the most irrefragable proof of the absurdity of the dogmas which were ventilated at the Congress of the British Association, and, at the same time, confirm, in no slight degree, the great truths of the Christian religion.104

It may be true that the controversy over the Origin in the first decade or so after 1859 cannot be seen as a conflict of science versus religion, since the debate took place mainly within the realm of natural theology.105 But in the mid-1860s the argument over the ethnological view of race was, as far as the APS, Hunt and Huxley were concerned, one of revealed religion versus science, or versus pseudo-science as the APS saw it. This account needs careful definition, however, for even in the midst of an editorial which ended so stridently attacking the ‘ethnological’ theory that the African represented a less developed stage of human than the European, there was a concession to that very theory :

If the black man is hopelessly inferior to his Caucasian brother, this surely is no reason for dragging him down to a still lower level in the social scale; but, on the contrary, it affords the strongest motive for civilizing him, so far as he may he susceptible of civilization. This is what Missionaries and Anti-Slavery Societies … are all endeavouring to do.106

The inheritors of the evangelical concern which had established organizations such as the APS and the Church Missionary Society were not about to become polygenists, but there was enough racial conceit to draw many of them to the new monogenism, even if, like Quatrefages, they were not about to accept transmutation.

Crowther’s star was soon to fade and Crowther himself saw the influence of the ‘Anthropological sort’ in undermining the standing of black clergymen amongst the F.uropeans.107 European missionaries found it difficult to serve under an African. Forces opposed to Venn’s ideas within the Church Missionary Society manoeuvred Crowther into an impossible administrative situation and blamed his failure on his ‘Africanness’.108 By the end of the century Samuel Crowther was no longer the symbol of African ability but of African ‘limitation’, evidence in fact against the Native Church.109 It would be almost a century before another African was made Bishop. 1867 seems to have been the pivotal year in this change: in West Africa in the previous decade twenty-five ‘native clergy’ had been ordained Anglican priests, but only five were ordained in the decade following.110 There was a similar decline in interest in ‘native clergy’ in the Pacific.111 The missionary now aimed to be permanent vicar to the ‘native’, because the ‘native’ was seen as ‘hopelessly inferior’. Although still regarded as of ‘one blood’, this was just as children were of ‘one blood’ with their parents.

Conclusion

George Stocking defined the history of anthropology as the history of ‘systematic study of unity-in-diversify’. However, this characterization underestimates the extent to which, through its history, anthropology has had as an impetus a concern to demonstrate that diversity disproved unity, as Stocking’s own studies have themselves shown. There has been a tendency to view nineteenth- century anthropology teleologically. Any individual or theoretical current that cannot be seen to have contributed directly and positively in the development of what is now understood as acceptable anthropology is distorted. The aim has been to produce a history of the anthropological ideas now acceptable rather than a history of the discipline itself and of its influence. To late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century anthropology, James Hunt is an embarrassment. He is usually portrayed as an eccentric, even marginal, figure and in many works tracing the development of modern anthropological thought his name is simply absent.112 The African historian J. F. Ade Ajayi describes Hunt’s views as ‘regarded as radical and odd’ in their time.113 Yet a consideration of the publications with which hewas associated, of their weight and frequency, and of their contributors, demonstrates that this is a difficult portrayal to justify. Hunt must be numbered amongst anthropology’s most influential founders.114 A similar strabismus befalls phrenology. Until recently, in studies by James Secord and John van Wyhe,115 the influence of phrenology and of George Combe has been widely ignored. As this paper has remarked, Combe was a major contributor to arguments about the nature of man in this period, both through his own writings and through his influence on Morton, Chambers and many less prominent figures such as Robert Dunn.

There is a similar aim in the characterization of the debate as taking place between a monogenist and Darwinian ESL against a polygenist and anti-Darwinian ASL. The simple distinction fails. Such a description presumes that the polygenists rejected natural selection outright. This paper has shown that the situation was more complex. It was not until The Descent of Man appeared that Darwin’s own position became clear to the public. In the meantime, many polygenists claimed Darwin proved their point. Similarly, natural selection’s biggest and broadest influence was on those who did not accept it as an explanation of transmutation and thus of the origin of species, but rather as an explanation of difference, of inequality as the outcome of the ‘struggle for existence’, an explanation of far-reaching political implications, including its influence on missionaries and philanthropists in their attitudes to subjected peoples.

It was not, of course, evolutionary theory alone that wrought such change. British missionaries had always had to confront their own national conceit in practising their theological convictions, as was recognized by Henry Venn in proposing his ideal of the Native Church.116 As Hodgkin had feared, the Jamaica uprising undermined public-sympathy for the fate of non-Europeans. As Lamin Sanneh writes,

Missionary confidence in the ability of Africans and of their equality in the Church had been considerably undermined by racist doctrines of anthropology. But until the imposition of imperial rule, this confidence, though crumbling, had not been entirely overthrown. Imperial rule, however, provided the appropriate political setting for the abandonment of the African policy in mission and its replacement by a European one.117

The debate over natural selection and human nature undermined the citadel of essential human equality, a view which the doctrine of ‘one blood’ had represented at the time of the foundation of the APS and the ESL and which had offered ‘scientific’ basis for their resistance to colonialism. The Hamitic Curse had been replaced by the curse of failure in the struggle for existence. Such a curse of nature could be assuaged by the saving grace of Jesus, but not lifted. The new monogenism placed the missionary subject within the realm of descendents of Adam and therefore possessed of a soul responsive to Jesus’ salvation, but it did not demand equality or the possibility of the subject attaining that equality.

1 G. W. Stocking, Jr., Victorian Anthropology, New York, 1991 (first published 1987), 245-57.

2 Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Aboriginal Tribes, (British Settlements), reprinted, with comments, by the Aborigines’ Protection Society, London, 1837, 1.

3 A. M. and E. H. Kass, Perfecting the World: The Life and Times of Dr. Thomas Hodgkin 1798-1866, New York, 1988, 258-9.

4 Extracts from the Papers and Proceedings of the Aborigines’ Protection Society (1839), 4, 99.

5 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 313; See M. S. Staum, ‘Paris ethnology and the perfectibility of “races’”, Canadian Journal of History (2000), 35, 453-72.

6 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 391.

7 R. King, ‘Address to the Ethnological Society of London delivered at the anniversary, 25th May 1844″, Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1850), 2, 9-42. 8 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 393.

9 E. Dieffenbach, On the Study of Ethnology, Read at the Meeting Preliminary to the Formation of the Ethnological Society, Held at Dr. Hodgkin’s … January 31 1843, London, 1843, 2-3.

10 L. R. Hiatt, Arguments about Aborigines: Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology, Cambridge, 1996, 6-7; O. J. R. Howarth, The British Association for the Advancement of Science: A Retrospect 1831-1931, London, 1931, 199.

11 Hiatt, op. cit. (10), 6-7; G. W. Stocking, introductory essay, in James Gowles Prichard, Researches into the Physical History of Man (originally published 1813), (ed. G. W. Stocking), Chicago, 1973, 17 ft.

12 Prichard, op. cit. (11), 146 ff.

13 Stocking, op. cit. (11), 96-7.

14 J. Prichard, ‘On the relations of ethnology to other branches of knowledge’. Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1848), 1, 329; added emphasis.

15 See T. Hodgkin, ‘Obituary of Dr. Prichard’, Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1850), 2, 182-207.

16 Stocking, op. cit. (1), 57 ff.

17 The GId Testament text is confused and it may have been Canaan who actually gazed upon Noah – see New Oxford Annotated Bible (ed. B. M. Metzger and R. E. Murphy), New York, 1991, 13OT annotation.

18 E. Stock, The History of the Church Missionary Society, 2 vols., London, 1899, i, 19.

19 Ivan Hannaford traces this extrapolation back to the Jewish historian of late antiquity, Josephus. Noah cultivated the land, but Ham’s posterity was cursed to not know agriculture (I. Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West, Washington, DC, 1996, 91 ff).

20 New Oxford Annotated Bible, op. cit. ( 17), 7OT; J. B. Friedman, The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought, Cambridge, MA, 1981, 100.

21 J. S. Haller, Outcastes from Evolution: Scientific Attitudes of Racial Inferiority, 1859-1900, Chicago, 1971, 5. The model for Blumenbach’s classification may have been the seventeenth-century Frenchman Francois Bernier. (See S. Stuurman, ‘Francois Bernier and the invention of racial classification’, History Workshop Journal (2000), 50, 1-21.)

22 R. Watson, ‘Sermon V: the religious instruction of the slaves in the West India colonies advocated and defended’ (preached 1824), in The Works of the Rev. Richard Watson, 12 vols., London, 1858, ii, 88-97.

23 Comments such as this were not uncommon: ‘The haughty Anglo- Saxon forgets by what slow, and, at times, almost imperceptible stages he has arrived at his present position … He forgets how, in long distant ages, nations more refined than his own gave to England elements of art, of science, and of literature’. Colonial Intelligencer, and Aborigines Friend 1859-1866, New Series, 2 (January-December 1864), 374-5.

24 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3).

25 W. R. Shenk, ‘Henry Venn’s instructions to missionaries’, Missiology: An International Review (1980), 8, 467-85, 475.

26 These details of Crowther’s life are taken for the main part from J. Page, Samuel Crowther: The Slave Boy Who Became Bishop of the Niger, London, 1888; J. Peterson, Province of Freedom: A History of Sierra Leone 1787-1870, Evanston, 1969, 175-8, 181-2; J. F. Ade Ajayi, Tradition and Change in Africa: The Essays of J. P. Ade Ajayi (ed. T. Falola), Trenton, NJ and Asmara, Eritrea, 2000, passim.

27 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 71.

28 R. Knox, ‘The races of men’ (from 2nd edn, 1862), in Race: The Origins of an Idea 1760-1850 (ed. H. F. Augstein), Bristol, 1996, 241, 242.

29 The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 3rd edn, 2 vols., Oxford, 1973, ii, 1369.

30 S. J. Gould, The Mismcasure of Man, London, 1984, 50-60.

31 Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (facsimile of 1871 edn), Princeton, 1981, 220n.

32 Morton often published in British journals; his ‘Observations on the size of the brain in various races and families of man’ appeared in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal ( 1849-50), 48, 262-5.

33 Gould, op. cit. (30).

34 T. Hodgkin, editorial, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (1849), XLVII, 205-44, 222.

35 S. Morton, ‘Introductory essay: on the varieties of human species’, in idem, Crania Americana ; or, a Comparative View of the Skulls of the Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America, Philadelphia, 1839, 1-95.

36 G. Combe, ‘Appendix: phrenological remarks on the relation between the natural talents and dispositions of nations and the development of their brains’ in Morton, Crania Americana, op. cit. (35), 269-91, 272-3.

37 Combe, op. cit. (36), 283.

38 See his preface to the first edition of The Races of Men ( 1850) – facsimile edition, Miami, 1969, 8.

39 W. Stanton, The Leopard’s Spots: Scientific Attitudes toward Race in America 1815-59, Chicago, 1960, 41.

40 E. Lurie, ‘Louis Agassiz and the races of man’, Isis (1954), 45, 227-42, 235.

41 L. Agassiz, ‘Geographical distribution of animals’, Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany (1850), 48, 181-204, 184 ff.

42 See editorial, ‘Dr Knox and the races of man’. Ethnological Journal (1849), 2, 94-6 (despite the title this short-lived publication was not connected to the ESL and was pro-polygenist).

43 Lurie, op. cit. (40), 232.

44 Lurie, op. cit. (40), 232 ff.

45 J. A. Secord, Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creadon, Chicago, 2000, 74; for Combe’s and phrenology’s importance see J. van Wyhe, Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Naturalism, Burlington, VT, 2004.

46 R. Chambers, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, facsimile of 1st edn of 1844 with an Introduction by G. de Beer, Leicester, 1969, 37 ff.

47 Quoted in Secord, op. cit. (45), 449.

48 Secord, op. cit. (45), 521.

49 Chambers, op. cit. (46), 277-323.

50 A. Barnard, History and Theory in Anthropology, Cambridge, 2000, 24.

51 Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 507.

52 Stocking, op. cit. (1), 246; Kass and Kass, op. cit. (3), 507.

53 See G. Stocking, ‘What’s in




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